What is a heat exchanger?

Heat Exchanger

Basic Heat Exchanger

For many types of furnaces, including oil and gas furnaces, the heat exchanger is the key component that makes the system work. The purpose of the heat exchanger is separate one heat source from the air that we breath. In the diagram to the right, it is a heat exchanger that transitions heat from liquid to gas while containing the gas. In most homes a very similar heat exchanger would be used to transfer heat from the dangerous fumes being produced in your furnace to the clean air of your home, while channeling the toxic fumes safely out of your home. Continue reading

Home repair Fraud

Home repair fraud is an on going threat in anything from the unsolicited sales person to the fly by night repair companies.  Fraudsters have gained fame for blatant scams involving roof seal coating, however their are the less blatant attempts effecting just about anything in your home or heating and cooling system. Continue reading

Post-Hurricane Sandy Scam Prevention

As hurricane Sandy blows herself out, cities and states along the East coast begin to assess the damage done to many areas that are not accustomed to hurricanes. New York and New Jersey were hit especially hard, and whenever there is a disaster like this, scam artists come crawling out of the woodwork from all over the country. They flock towards disaster because it usually means easy money. These states will be especially vulnerable because disasters of this magnitude rarely if ever impact this area. Before you throw your money away on a fly-by-night contractor, consider these tips in order to prevent another disaster on top of the hurricane damage.

Tips to Prevent Post-Disaster Scams:

  • Slow Down and Take a Deep Breath! Many homeowners rush into repairs and find themselves in the middle of a scam simply because they tried to rush through the process. We know you want to get back to normal, but haste is something scam artists are counting on in order to make a quick buck. Continue reading

Burning Smells and Professional Maintenance

As you turn on your furnace for the first time, you may notice a smell as the heat starts coming out. Most times that smell is the dust and lint that has built up over the summer months burning off in the unit. It sounds nasty and can be if this is a regular occurrence in your home every winter season. The best way to get rid of the dust in your unit is to have it cleaned at the beginning of the heating season.

Eliminate Odors and Prevent Problems

However, the smell could be caused by something else. Electrical malfunctions and debris from inside the duct could also cause a burning smell in the furnace. The only way to be sure is to have your yearly maintenance cleaning performed by a professional. Regular maintenance will not only help to eliminate potential odors from your unit but will also help to keep your unit running efficiently and safely.

Keep Your Family Safe during a Flood

The severe flooding that hit the coast of Louisiana caused millions of dollars worth of damage and put the lives of residents in danger. You may not live in Louisiana and you may never have that much water inside your home, but flood waters at any height do pose a safety risk. If a severe rainstorm causes flooding in your home, you need to know how to properly protect your family from harm. These are four tips that every homeowner should keep in mind when the flood waters begin to rise:

  • Gas Leaks: Any appliance that uses gas for fuel and comes in contact with a flood can pose a risk to safety in the home. Once the water is gone, these units need to be cleaned and inspected before they are operated. If you ever smell gas in the home, quickly evacuate and call your local fire department. They can repair the leak safely and prevent a fire or explosion! Continue reading

Closing Up the Air Conditioner for Winter

It sure doesn’t seem like fall is close but we are just a couple days away from September. As we get closer to the end of the air conditioning season we need to make sure we protect our air conditioners from the winter elements. Many units get damaged during winter months simply due to not being protected. Tree debris, ice and snow all can damage your unit during the fall and winter months.

Finding the Right Fit for Your AC Cover

Most manufacturers recommend protecting your unit with a proper fitting cover. Covers that are two big can allow debris into the unit and covers that are plastic or a poor fit will cause moisture to remain in the unit causing them to rust. A cover designed specifically for your unit gives you maximum protection at a minimum cost. So protect your air conditioner and contact your HVAC dealer to get a cover that fits and protects without causing damage.

Suspicious Coupons may be a Scam!

It seems like every time you check the mail there is a new coupon from some heating and cooling company offering their services at a discount rate. Right now the big service that is being pushed is air conditioner maintenance, and if you care about the condition of your air conditioner, odds are you have this service performed every year. The economy has everyone looking for ways to save, so those coupons are going to catch your attention. Illegitimate HVAC companies realize your need to save, and use it to their advantage. Don’t fall for their cheap tricks, and you will put your hard earned money to good use instead of wasting it on an air conditioner maintenance scam.

Low Pricing Red Flags

As you collect your air conditioner maintenance coupons, take a moment to notice the difference between the prices from one company to the next. You will find that some companies offer prices in the 70-90 dollar range, and other will offer the same service for 20-30 dollars. How is this possible? Are the high end companies just looking to make a bigger profit? No, they aren’t, and they are not the scam artists in this situation. Performing a cleaning for 70-90 dollars is the lowest a company would be able to go and still pull a small profit from the service. The companies that offer the extremely low pricing are the ones that should raise red flags in your mind. Continue reading

Three Very Good Reasons to Replace Your Old Boiler

Boilers have been known to last much longer than the average furnace, but this isn’t necessarily something to take pride in. Sure, it is great to get the most out of your investment, but when the unit is going on 30 or 40 years of age, you may be pushing your luck. You could be heading for a very inconvenient breakdown or even a home disaster. At the very least you are probably overspending by hundreds every year on your energy bills just to operate that ancient artifact! Now may be the time to replace that boiler on your terms instead of waiting for the worst!

Plan Your Boiler Replacement Now!

  • Energy Inefficiency: Modern boilers are required to be over 80% energy efficient with the fuel that they use. This has been a somewhat recent requirement, and your old boiler probably has no hope of every reaching this level of efficiency even with the best maintenance. Older units are usually somewhere around 50-60 % efficient with the fuel they use and that is a huge waste. Think of the money you could save by simply upgrading to the new minimum! The higher the rating the bigger the savings and the faster you earn your money back! Continue reading

Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas, which is totally odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Many of us have probably heard the horror stories of exposure, but you probably think that something like this could never happen to you and your family. Unfortunately, it is this type of thinking that leads to carbon monoxide exposure disasters. Homeowners that aren’t on the lookout for the signs or that haven’t taken the necessary precautions to prevent an accident are the most vulnerable to this type of problem in their home. You first must know how to recognize the signs and second, you must have defenses in place to protect your home and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO Exposure

  • disorientation
  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • flu-like symptoms
  • fatigue
  • chest tightness Continue reading

Protect Your Home While You are Away

The winter season is a popular time to go on vacation with the family. You pack up your belongings, head to where it’s warmer, and leave the winter chill behind! You lock up your home and assume that all will remain safe, but you make one disastrous mistake. You shut off the furnace. Many homeowners do this to conserve a little energy and save some money on their energy bills. However, doing this will leave your home vulnerable in the icy cold weather. All you need is one extra cold night and you could experience an expensive home disaster.

Water Damage from Burst Pipes

When the furnace is off, there is nothing stopping the temperature in the home from dipping below freezing. When this happens, the plumbing system is at risk of freezing. Even one frozen pipe and be a major problem. This is due to the fact that once a pipe is frozen, it may burst! The pipe is forced to expand by the presence of the ice, but as the ice begins to thaw, the water pressure will burst through the pipe and cause a major water leak. If you are out of town, there is nothing there to stop the water from flowing into your home and causing major water damage. Continue reading